Update: PG&E denies flying drone that hampered Dixie Fire mitigation efforts

Responding to a court order issued by Federal Probation Judge William Alsup, utility company PG&E has denied any knowledge of drone operations near the origin of the Dixie Fire – the second-largest recorded wildfire in California’s history.

In a court filing, PG&E says it has not identified any individual or company who flew a drone near the Dixie Fire on the evening of July 13, 2021, when the fire started. More specifically, the utility insists that no PG&E employee or contractor was instructed to, or did, fly a drone near the Dixie Fire on the day of its origin.

To recap, a water-dropping helicopter operated by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) was forced to halt fire mitigation operations on the evening of July 13 when an unidentified drone appeared over the blaze.

This 45-minute interruption happened to occur at a very critical juncture in the firefighting efforts – which ultimately resulted in the 2-acre-wide fire…